This Week in Apps #64 - TikTok the King Maker

Ariel Ariel
Jun. 4

This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.

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Mobile Index (30 Day)

U.S.: App Store 89.81 (-6.9%), Google Play 71.30 (+0.3%)


1. More again TikTok!

Paste Keyboard, an app that does pretty much what's on the tin, jumped to the top of the App Store this week. What's an unrecognized niche app doing at the top of the App Store, you ask?


Another week, another TikTok success story. Almost.

Paste Keyboard isn't advertising on TikTok. It actually hasn't even been updated in a while. Its success is due to kids being kids and needing a faster way to spam their friends, something a tool like Paste Keyboard is very good at.

Paste Keyboard estimates downloads on the App Store

Downloads started climbing last Friday, peaking at 187K on Monday with a similar haul on Sunday. Between Friday and Wednesday, Paste Keyboards was downloaded by 854K iPhone holders (the app is iOS only from what I could tell), and as of today (Friday) is holding on to the #4 spot overall in the US App Store, above TikTok.

What's going on??? TikTok has amassed a huge active userbase that's less serious and more casual (aka. kids) which means what happens in TikTok land will have an impact and may not make sense in traditional marketing terms.

I'm starting to feel like a broken record, but I must repeat this: if you're an app developer, you should be learning more about TikTok.

FYI - I'm thinking of hosting an AF Chat about TikTok marketing at some point in the near future. If you have something to contribute and want to sit on the panel, please let me know.

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2. Possibly a bit more...

VSCO (pronounced Visco, I'm pretty sure), a photo/video editing app, saw an explosion of downloads this week which propelled it to the top of the App Store, dethroning kingmaker TikTok.

Estimated downloads of VSCO

Daily downloads grew nearly 10x, from around 60K to more than 480K on Tuesday and 530K on Wednesday.

It's interesting timing considering Capcut was all the rage the last few week, and shows just how integrated TikTok is. To me, this also means TikTok users are getting serious about what they post, and wanting it to look unique, which opens up the market for editors and will soon spring a gimmick war.

3. HBO's modern strategy won

Last week HBO Max aired the reunion of Friends. The same weekend Disney+ released its latest movie Cruella. This is the latest movie from Disney+ to require paying more to see the movie while its also in theaters.

I wasn't sure what to expect when Disney+ first used this strategy when it released Mulan, but after, it became pretty obvious it wasn't a good idea. I think it's safe to say that was proven again last weekend.

Friends on HBO Max got more downloads than Disney's Cruella

Report: Friends gives HBO Max more downloads than Cruella for Disney+

Friends fans flocked to HBO Max, adding more than 180K new downloads for the service on Friday, more than double HBO's daily average, and increasing downloads in the days after as well. Disney+'s downloads didn't fare as well, though, with Cruella earning a bump of shy of 20K downloads.

My take: Being stuck at home has forever altered the way we consume movies and not just the technical but also the perception behind how. As most streamers became very flexible with new content and even rushed to make it more available, why would someone pay extra for a service they already pay a monthly fee for?

That antiquated way of thinking, putting theater releases in a different class from streaming releases, is unlikely to stick around for long, and as no other streamer is even considering it, I think that'll happen soon.

4. New mic, who dat?

Two weeks ago, VC favorite Clubhouse finally released its Android app. Having seen downloads slump over the last few months on the iOS side of things, I was very interested in seeing how Clubhouse would do on Android now that they're popular enough.

Clubhouse for Android - estimated downloads

The downloads didn't fail to surprise me. We estimate Clubhouse was downloaded by 2.8M Android devices in the first two weeks of its life, outpacing iOS downloads, which we estimate at 1.7M in the same period.

Small surprise, the US isn't the top source of downloads but rather comes in at #4 with a meager 4.4% share of downloads. The top countries downloading Clubhouse from Google Play are India (46.4%), Egypt (18.5%), and Thailand (7.7%).

What's interesting is that the excitement on Google Play seems to have spilled over to the App Store, where downloads grew more than 10x in the last week, from a daily average of 25K to more than 330K nearly every day in the last week.

Bottom line: Clubhouse seems to have cemented its place in the short list of social media companies. Its next big challenge would be monetizing successfully, a challenge it's starting to tackle by offering in-app contributions for creators, a model that works very well for Twitch.

5. Etsy pops

Etsy, the hand-made(ish) platform, has announced this week it's acquiring Depop for $1.6B. That's billion with a B for a marketplace I've never really heard of before.

So, what's Depop? A marketplace like Etsy, that's focused on second-hand clothes and targets young buyers and influencers.

Let's have a look at its downloads over the years:

Etsy buys Depop's 23M downloads

Depop has grown a lot over the last few years, and much like other shopping apps, COVID gave it wings.

Since 2017, Depop saw 23.3M new downloads across the App Store and Google Play. Overall, most of those downloads, 20M, came from iPhone holders, according to our App Intelligence.

Depop has averaged a growth rate of around 50% year over year for the last three years and is only a few points lower than the same period last year, which makes sense considering it was peak season for at-home shopping.

Interesting: Etsy will let Depop operate as a separate entity and paid most of that hefty price in cash which means they really need to make inroads with younger shoppers who don't know of Etsy's existence.

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Note: All figures included in this report are estimated. Revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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